Legislative Round-Up: September 20, 2019

Produced by the Foundation for Middle East Peace in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Legislative Round-Up was conceived

 

  1. Bills, Resolutions, & Letters 
  2. FY20 SFOPS - Senate
  3. Hearings
  4. On the Record 
  1. Bills,  Resolutions, & Letters

 

(RE-DIRECT PALESTINIAN $$ TO IRON DOME) HR 4411: Introduced 9/1/ by Budd (R-NC), “To amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to limit assistance to the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization, and for other purposes,” aka, the “Iron Dome Reinforcement Act of 2019.” Budd press release announcing the bill is here (including pdf of text). Building on the Taylor Force Act, this bill would bar any funding to the PA or PLO [note: the US has never given any funding to the PLO and longstanding law bars it from doing so] unless the Secretary of State certifies to Congress that no special funding is going to families of people killed or incarcerated by Israel. And rather than simply bar funding to the Palestinians, it redirects it to Israel as additional funding for Iron Dome. Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. 

 

(FY20 NDAA and INTEL AUTH) S. 1790: The House and Senate this week went to conference on S. 1790, the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (for Congressional Record for House and Senate conferees). The Middle East elements of the Senate version of S. 1790 are covered in the June 28, 2019 edition of the Round-Up; the Middle East elements of the House version of S. 1790 (passed in the House in the form of HR 2500, and then as an amendment in the nature of a substitute into S. 1790) are covered in the June 28 and July 12 editions of the Round-Up. 

 

IMPORTANT: the NDAA conference will deal with both the NDAA and FY20 Intelligence Authorizations (the latter being part of the Senate version of S. 1790). As previously noted in the Round-Up, this means that when Senate conferees look to reconcile their respective texts, the Oorah Act will be among the provisions that have already been adopted in both chambers. As a reminder:

 

  • The “Oorah Act” started life as freestanding bills in the House and Senate - S. 1529 & HR 2790 - covered in the 5/17/19 edition of the Round-Up.
  • As reported previously, this rather important piece of legislation was quietly slipped into the Senate version of the FY20 NDAA (S. 1790 – reported in the 6/28/19 edition of the Round-Up), as part of an amendment in the nature of a substitute introduced by Inhofe (R-KS) and adopted by with zero discussion. Separately, it was added to the House version of the FY20 Intelligence Authorization Act (HR 3494 – reported in the 7/19/19 edition of the Round-Up), via a floor amendment adopted with zero debate and by voice vote.
  • The Oorah Act seeks, in effect, to suspend sovereign immunity and extend U.S. extraterritorial sovereignty in order to seize Iranian assets that are located outside of U.S. jurisdiction, for the purposes of satisfying a U.S. court judgment against Iran on behalf of U.S. Marines killed or injured in the 1983 Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut. 
  • When discussed at all, the Oorah Act is framed as a non-controversial, mom-and-apple-pie measure designed to obtain justice thus far denied to victims of terror, without any recognition its foreign policy/national security implications.
  • In reality, the Oorah Act directly challenges the notion of sovereign immunity, which is the foundation of international relations and the international system. If it becomes law (and the U.S. seeks to implement it), it will put the U.S. at odds with the entire international community and put U.S. citizens/companies at risk of reciprocal acts of seizure by foreign governments and foreign courts.
  • It also will be a precedent and template for Congress to legislate similar acts of extraterritorial sovereignty to satisfy U.S. court judgments, with the most obvious targeted being (but in no way limited to) the PA and PLO.
  • Not surprisingly, this effort is almost certainly being driven and choreographed by the same politically- /ideologically-motivated lawfare forces behind ATCA (see here and here).

(TWEAKING ATCA) S. 2132 (text is here): Introduced 7/16 by Lankford (R-OK), Grassley (R-IA) and Duckworth (D-IL), “A bill to promote security and provide justice for United States victims of international terrorism.” As noted in the 7/19 edition of the Round-Up, this bill is identical to the amendment offered by Lankford and Grassley to the NDAA (SA 777).  At a 9/19 Senate Judiciary meeting, the committee briefly took up S. 2132, in an opening statement by Graham pushing for approval of the bill and promising it would be dealt with at an upcoming Committee meeting (starting at around 20:40 in the video). Graham mentioned that the bill is bipartisan (2R, 1D), and supported by both the Department of State and the government of Israel (the fact that Graham felt it was appropriate to cite a foreign government’s approval for his legislation says really all there is to say on the subject). NOTE: S. 2132 is now scheduled to be dealt with in the Judiciary Committee on 9/26.

 

As a review, this is a Senate effort to “fix” ATCA – in a manner that is notably different from and incompatible with the “fix” included in HR 1837, which was marked up/passed by the HFAC in July. The purpose of this measure is to  allow some portion of aid for the Palestinians -- with Graham’s focus being security aid for the PA security forces) by tweaking ATCA to not apply to all forms of aid, while legislating new conditions that, if triggered, would enable lawfare organizations to sue the PLO/PA out of existence. And to make it extra fun, in order to not trigger these conditions, the Palestinians would, in effect, have to give up literally all possible legal, non-violent avenues for action at their disposal. Specifically, the added triggers are: 

 

(a) any Palestinian official setting foot in the United States in any official capacity; 

(b) failure by the Palestinians to announce withdrawal (within 120 days of this becoming law) from any UN agencies in which Palestine has been granted membership; 

(c) the Palestinians remaining a member in any UN agency (after 2 years of this becoming law), and 

(d) at any time after this becomes law, the Palestinians taking any steps to seek or accept standing in any UN agency.

 

(SFOPS - SENATE VERSION) S. XXXX: On 9/18, Graham (R-SC), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, released the base text for the FY20 SFOPS bill, as well as the Committee report. Middle East-related elements are laid out below. Most notably, the bill restores $75 million in funding for Palestinian security forces (avoiding ATCA problems by providing the funds out of a NADR account that is not the one specified in ATCA). The House Appropriations Committee has already completed work on its version of the bill - for full breakdown of Middle East details of that bill, see the special May 16th edition the Round-Up, as well as further Round-Up coverage here. For full breakdown of Middle East details of the Senate version, see Section 2, below.

 

UPDATES ON PENDING LEGISLATION

 

(BASHING BOYCOTTS) S. Res. 120: Introduced 3/25 by Cardin (D-MD) and Portman (R-OH), “A resolution opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel.” No new cosponsors this week.

 

(SAFEGUARDING RIGHTS OF CHILDREN UNDER ISRAELI OCCUPATION) HR 2407: Introduced 4/30 by McCollum (D-MN), “To promote human rights for Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation and require that United States funds do not support military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children, and for other purposes.” No new cosponsors this week. Notably, on 9/14 Dingell (D-MI), who last week removed her name as a cosponsor of HR 2407, on 9/14 tweeted out a thread implicitly attacking HR 2407 (“My heart has always been with the children of Palestine and I would never take action that would harm them. I believe we must act to protect them and that we must do better than this bill”). HR 2407 author McCollum (D-MN) responded with a powerful Twitter thread of her own noting, among other things, that “Rep. Dingell says ‘we must do better’ than HR 2407. While we wait & wait for a two-state solution, Israel’s occupation continues and Palestinian children continue to be held in Israeli military detention.”

 

(PALESTINIAN PARTNERSHIP FUND) HR 3104 and S.1727: Introduced 6/5 in the House by Lowey (D-NY) and Fortenberry (R-NE), and in the Senate by Coons (D-DE), Graham (R-SC), Kaine (D-VA) and Gardner (R-CO), “To establish the Partnership Fund for Peace to promote joint economic development and finance ventures between Palestinian entrepreneurs and companies and those in the United States and Israel to improve economic cooperation and people-to-people peacebuilding programs, and to further shared community building, peaceful coexistence, dialogue, and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.” No new cosponsors this week on HR 3104, but on 9/16 Durbin (D-IL) added his name as a cosponsor on S. 1727.

 

(DEFENDING FREE SPEECH/BOYCOTTS) H. Res. 496: Introduced 7/16 by Omar (D-MN), “Affirming that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution” [and not mentioning Israel, Palestinians, or anything related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict]. No new cosponsors this week.

 

Letters

 

(WE STAND WITH BIBI - I MEAN, WITH ISRAEL) Scott letter to Bibi: On 9/16 - the day before Israeli elections, Sen. Scott (R-FL) sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu praising Netanyahu, praising Trump, and celebrating the U.S.-Israel relationship [“The United States and Israel are partners in every sense of the word, and we have come together over decades to defend our common interests and protect peace and security. I am thankful for your friendship and leadership. In Israel, the United States has a strong, capable, and trustworthy ally.” and “Thank you again for being a partner in this fight. Together, we will continue strengthening our partnership for generations to come.”] Press release is here.

 

  1. FY20 SFOPS - Senate

 

On 9/18, Graham (R-SC), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, released the base text for the FY20 SFOPS bill, as well as the Committee report. Middle East-related elements are laid out below. Most notably, the bill restores $75 million in funding for Palestinian security forces (avoiding ATCA problems by providing the funds out of a NADR account that is not the one specified in ATCA). The House Appropriations Committee has already completed work on its version of the bill - for full breakdown of Middle East details of that bill, see the special May 16th edition the Round-Up, as well as further Round-Up coverage here

 

Below is a full breakdown of Middle East details of the Senate text and report.

 

Intro language from the Report notes:

 

“Iran’s nuclear ambitions endanger allies, particularly Israel, and support for armed proxies in the region and the seizure of a British tanker in international waters leaves unchanged its status as a pariah state deserving of international condemnation and sanctions….”

 

And

 

“The act provides $7,277,488,000 to support critical assistance for counterterrorism, and nonproliferation programs, financing for critical military equipment, and foreign military training and education programs for U.S. partners around the world. This assistance addresses the critical security needs of important allies like Israel ($3,300,000,000) and Jordan ($1,650,000,000)…”

 

TITLE I — DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND RELATED AGENCY

 

Broadcasting Board of Governors, international broadcasting operations: Perennial bill language providing $$800,025,000 “to carry out international communication activities, and to make and supervise grants for radio, Internet, and television broadcasting to the Middle East and global Internet freedom programs.”

 

Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue Trust Fund: Perennial bill provision stating: “For necessary expenses of the Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue Trust Fund, as authorized by section 633 of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2004 (22 U.S.C. 2078), the total amount of the interest and earnings accruing to such Fund on or before September 30, 2020, to remain available until expended.”

 

Israeli Arab Scholarship Program: Perennial bill provision stating: “For necessary expenses of the Israeli Arab Scholarship Program, as authorized by section 214 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (22 U.S.C. 2452 note), all interest and earnings accruing to the Israeli Arab Scholarship Fund on or before September 30, 2020, to remain available until expended.”

 

The report includes: “New Embassy Compound in Jerusalem, Israel.—The Committee notes that funds under this heading in the act and prior acts available to support the construction of a permanent New Embassy Compound [NEC] in Jerusalem.”

 

TITLE III — BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE

 

MIGRATION AND REFUGEE ASSISTANCE – MRA (Total: $ 3,432,000,000]

The bill stipulates that, “$5,000,000 shall be made available for refugees resettling in Israel.”

For country by country details of ESF, see Section 7031, below. The table included in the Report accompanying the bill lays out Near East ESF as follows:

 

Egypt: $125,000,000

Iraq : $150,000,000

Jordan $1,082,400,000

Lebanon: $115,000,000

Libya: $27,000,000

Morocco: $20,000,000

Syria: $105,000,000, of which $11 million if for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor

Tunisia: $85,000,000

Yemen: $16,500,000, of which $3 million if for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor

of which, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Middle East Multilaterals: $875,000

MEPI:   $50,000,000, of which $20 million is for scholarships

Middle East Regional Cooperation: $5,000,000

Near East Regional Democracy: $55,000,000, of which $15 million is for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership: $3,000,000

USAID Middle East Regional: $11,950,000

Section 7047(g) Reconciliation Programs: $10,000,000

Subtotal, Near East: $1,861,725,000

 

With respect to MEPI, the Report notes: “U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative Scholarships.—The Committee recommends $50,000,000 under this heading for scholarships for students in countries with significant Muslim populations at not-for-profit institutions of higher education in a manner consistent with prior fiscal years, and funds shall be awarded on an open and competitive basis.”

 

With respect to the Democracy Fund, the Report notes: “Of the additional funds included above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level for the HRDF [Human Rights and Democracy Fund [HRDF]…not less than $3,000,000 for programs in Libya; not less than $2,000,000 for programs in the Middle East.”

 

TITLE IV – INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE

 

INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL AND LAW ENFORCEMENT – INCLE

The Report accompanying the bill lays out INCLE for the Near East as follows:

Egypt: $2,000,000

Iraq: $5,600,000

Lebanon: $10,000,000

Libya: $2,000,000

Morocco: $5,000,000

Syria: $5,000,000

Tunisia: $13,000,000

Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership: $2,000,000

Subtotal, Near East: $44,600,000

 

NONPROLIFERATION, ANTI-TERRORISM, DEMINING AND RELATED PROGRAMS – NADR

This section of the bill includes a perennial stipulation that “…funds appropriated under this heading may be made available for the IAEA unless the Secretary of State determines that Israel is being denied its right to participate in the activities of that Agency.”

 

PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS – PKO

The bill stipulates that, “…not less than $31,000,000 shall be made available for a United States contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai.”

 

The Report accompanying the bill notes: “Funds made available by the act above the level of the U.S. contribution are intended to address ongoing force protection requirements and emerging needs to protect and sustain the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai.”

 

INTERNATIONAL MILITARY EDUCATION AND TRAINING

The Report accompanying the bill notes includes a table laying out IMET for the Near East, as follows:

Algeria: $1,400,000

Bahrain: $800,000

Egypt: $1,800,000

Iraq: $1,000,000

Jordan: $4,000,000

Lebanon: $3,000,000

Morocco: $2,000,000

Oman: $2,000,000

Tunisia: $2,300,000

Subtotal, Near East: .$18,300,000

 

FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING – FMF (TOTAL: $ 6,202,113,000]

See the bill text in Section 7031, below, for details of FMF provisions for all Near East countries except Israel.

 

With respect to Israel, the bill states that, “not less than $3,300,000,000 shall be available for grants only for Israel.” It includes the perennial stipulations giving Israel this funding in a lump sum “which shall be disbursed not later than 30 days after enactment of this Act,” and “allowing Israel to spend a large chunk of that money outside the US:.”

 

NOTE: As highlighted previously in the Round-Up, these little-remarked stipulations – early disbursal and permission for almost $1 billion of FMF to be spent inside Israel – are unique to Israel’s aid program. Both significantly increase the value of the assistance to Israel and the cost of the assistance to the U.S. In all other cases, FMF is obligated and disbursed by the U.S. on an as-used basis, meaning that the U.S. either keeps the money in the U.S. Treasury until it is needed (where it earns interest) or if the money is not in the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. does not have to borrow it until it is needed (meaning less interest paid). In the case of Israel, the entire amount is handed over in a lump sum within 30 days of the law passing, meaning that Israel can bank the money and earn interest on it (which it can spend however and wherever it likes). In addition, in all other cases, FMF must be spent inside the U.S. (unless a specific exemption is granted). The logic behind this is that FMF is not just a “gift” to a foreign country but is actually a form of investment in the U.S. economy. In Israel’s case, however, almost $1 billion of FMF may be used in Israel, rather than for the benefit of U.S. industry (this amount is gradually being phased out in the coming years, but between now and the time it is phased out completely it still represents billions of dollars).

 

The Report accompanying the bill includes a table laying out FMF for the Near East, as follows:

 

Bahrain: $5,000,000

Egypt:  $1,300,000,000

Iraq: $250,000,000

Israel: $3,300,000,000

Jordan:  $425,000,000

Lebanon: $105,000,000

Morocco: $10,000,000

Oman: $2,000,000

Tunisia: $85,000,000

Subtotal, Near East: $5,482,000,000

 

 

TITLE VII – GENERAL PROVISIONS

 

The Report accompanying the bill notes: “Updated Reports for New Embassy and Consulate Compound Construction.—The Secretary of State shall continue to provide the Committee quarterly reports as required by section 7004(h) of division F of Public Law 116–6 for the following projects: (1) the NEC in Mexico City, Mexico; (2) the NEC in New Delhi, India; (3) the NCC in Erbil, Iraq; (4) the NEC in Jakarta, Indonesia; and (5) the NEC in Beirut, Lebanon. In addition, the Secretary shall include in such reports the NEC in Jerusalem, Israel.”

 

The Report also states: “Anti-Kleptocracy and Human Rights.—The Committee is concerned with the lack of information sharing between the Departments of State and the Treasury regarding the implementation of sanctions on foreign individuals for direct or indirect involvement in significant corruption or gross violations of human rights, pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. Not later than 60 days after enactment of the act, and following consultation with the appropriate congressional committees, the Secretary of State shall submit to such committees a plan to improve the coordination of such efforts, including to ensure the Departments will jointly develop and implement sanctions, as appropriate. For purposes of the act and this report, including for implementing subsection (c)(1)(A), the term ‘gross violation of human rights’ shall include unjust or wrongful detention, including of American citizens and nationals.”

 

Sec. 7006: Prohibition against direct funding for certain countries

This is perennial bill language banning aid to Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria, extending to loans, credits, insurance, and guarantees of the Export-Import Bank or its agents.

 

Sec. 7011(f): Notification Requirements

Part (g) of this bill provision states that no funds appropriated under titles III through VI of this Act (pretty much all funds in the bill) may be obligated or expended for assistance to a laundry list of countries, “except as provided through regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.” From the Middle East, the list includes (this year): Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

 

Sec. 7024: The Report accompanying the bill notes: “The Committee recommends not less than $1,000,000 for programs to combat anti-Semitism abroad.”

 

Sec. 7031

The Report accompanying the bill notes: “The Committee remains concerned with reports of the widespread use of arbitrary detention and torture in Bahrain, and notes that the suppression of peaceful dissent and free expression in Bahrain may also have the unintended consequence of increasing instability in that country.

 

Sec. 7031(a) Egypt

Overall conditions on aid: Funds appropriated by this Act that are available for assistance for Egypt may be made available notwithstanding any other provision of law restricting assistance for Egypt, except for this subsection and section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2378d), and may only be made available for assistance for the Government of Egypt if the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such government is— (A) sustaining the strategic relationship with the United States; and (B) meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.”

 

Reminder: Section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 states that “No assistance shall be furnished under this Act or the Arms Export Control Act to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.” It adds that this prohibition “shall not apply if the Secretary determines and reports to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, and the Committees on Appropriations that the government of such country is taking effective steps to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice.”

 

ESF: The text earmarks not less than $125 million in ESF for Egypt, of not less than $40 million “should be made available for higher education programs, including not less than $15,000,000 for scholarships for Egyptian students with high financial need to attend not-for-profit institutions of higher education in Egypt that are currently accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education, or meets standards equivalent to those required for United States institutional accreditation by a regional accrediting agency recognized by such Department.” The bill also stipulates that ESF for Egypt “shall be made available for democracy programs, and for development programs in the Sinai” and that they “may not be made available for cash transfer assistance or budget support unless the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the appropriate congressional committees that the Government of Egypt is taking consistent and effective steps to stabilize the economy and implement market-based economic reforms.” In addition, no ESF funding may go to the “Civil Associations and Foundations Support Fund” or “any similar fund, established pursuant to Law 70 on Associations and Other Foundations Working in the Field of Civil Work published in the Official Gazette of Egypt on May 29, 2017.

 

FMF: The bill earmarks up to $1.3 billion in FMF for Egypt, to remain available until September 30, 2021 (and stipulates that these funds may be transferred to the interest bearing account – a benefit granted to Egypt years ago by Congress to try to create some symmetry with Israel’s early disbursal provision). The bill stipulates that $300 million of such funds shall be withheld until the Secretary of State certifies and reports to Congress that the Government of Egypt is taking sustained and effective steps to meet a long list of goals relating to democracy, human rights, political reform, release of political prisoners and detainees, holding security forces accountable, etc. The test stipulates that this certification requirement does not apply “to funds appropriated by this Act under such heading for counterterrorism, border security, and nonproliferation programs for Egypt.”

 

WAIVER: The bill also provides the Secretary of State authority to waive the certification requirement on FMF if (meaning, no withholding, regardless of the conditions laid out in the law), “if the Secretary determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that to do so is important to the national security interest of the United States, and submits a report to such Committees containing a detailed justification for the use of such waiver and the reasons why any of the requirements of subparagraph (A) cannot be met…”

 

The Report accompanying the bill notes:

 

“Certification.— In making the certification required by subsection (a)(3)(A)(iii), the Secretary of State shall consider the cases of American citizen Mustafa Kassem and Ola Al-Qaradawi and her husband Hosam Khalaf. The Committee urges that humane treatment and fair trials be afforded these and other prisoners. Not later than 30 days after enactment of the act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees on the status of these cases, which shall be updated every 60 days thereafter until September 30, 2020.

 

“Counterterrorism Campaign in the Sinai.—Not later than 90 days after enactment of the act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on Egypt’s compliance with end-user monitoring agreements for the use of U.S. military equipment in the Sinai. Such report shall include: (1) an assessment of whether Egyptian security forces are complying with obligations under the Golden Sentry and Blue Lantern programs, to ensure that U.S. military equipment transferred or exported to Egypt is being used for its legitimate and intended purposes and does not come into the possession of individuals or groups that pose a threat to the United States; (2) an assessment of whether the Government of Egypt is readily providing information to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and relevant U.S. officials to facilitate a comprehensive vetting process, including human rights vetting, which could include organizational charts and other information as identified in the GAO report U.S. Government Should Strengthen End-Use Monitoring and Human Rights Vetting for Egypt (April 2016); (3) a detailed description of the internal protocol, evidentiary standards, and decision-making processes followed by the Departments of State and Defense in investigating reports of human rights violations committed by Egyptian security forces that receive U.S. equipment; and (4) a detailed description of how U.S. military equipment is being used in the Sinai and an assessment of whether Egyptian security forces operating there are respecting international human rights and humanitarian law.

 

“Energy Infrastructure in the Sinai.—The Committee encourages the Department of State to prioritize the security of energy infrastructure in the Sinai, including the Egypt Gas Pipeline.

 

“The Committee includes additional funds under the ESF heading for increased economic development programs in the Sinai, particularly for Bedouin communities.

 

“Higher Education and Scholarships.—The Committee recommends not less than $15,000,000 for Egyptian students with high financial need to attend not-for-profit institutions of higher education that meet standards equivalent to those required for U.S. institutional accreditation by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Students should be eligible for scholarships based on need, outstanding academic record, and leadership potential to contribute to the long-term political, economic, and social development of Egypt. The curriculum of such institutions should encourage critical thinking and be taught in the English language.

 

“Not later than 45 days after enactment of the act, the USAID Administrator shall consult with the Committee on the uses of such funds.

 

“Report.—Not later than 30 days after enactment of the act, and every 60 days thereafter until September 30, 2020, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees describing the efforts by the Government of Egypt to compensate April Corley for injuries and losses sustained in September 2015.”

 

The Report also includes a table breaking down assistance for Egypt as follows:

 

ESF: $125,000,000, of which $15,000,000 is for scholarships

INCLE: $2,000,000

NADR: $3,000,000

IMET: $1,800,000

FMF: $1,300,000,000

Total: $1,431,800,000

 

Sec. 7031 (b) Iran

This section of the bill states that ESF funds “shall be made available for democracy programs for Iran, to be administered by the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, Department of State, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State.” It also requires the Secretary of State to submit to the Committees on Appropriations “the semi-annual report required by section 135(d)(4) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2160e(d)(4)), as added by section 2 of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (Public Law 114–17).”

 

The Report accompanying the bill states:

 

 “Funds appropriated by the act under the DP and NADR headings shall be used by the Secretary of State to support: (1) U.S. policy to prevent Iran from achieving the capability to produce or otherwise obtain a nuclear weapon; (2) an expeditious response to any violation of UN Security Council Resolutions or efforts that advance Iran’s nuclear program; and (3) the implementation and enforcement of sanctions against Iran for support of nuclear weapons development, terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missile and weapons proliferation.”

 

“Counterinfluence Programs.—The Secretary of State, in consultation with the heads of other relevant Federal agencies, shall coordinate Iran counterinfluence programs funded by the act. Such programs should: (1) counter the false assertions made by the Government of Iran against the United States and other democratic countries; (2) describe the support Iran provides to terrorist proxies; and (3) assess and describe the adverse impacts such support causes to the people of Syria, Yemen, and other areas where they operate.”

 

“Reports.—Not later than 180 days after enactment of the act, the Secretary of State shall: (1) submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees detailing the steps taken by the Secretary and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations to implement section 415 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (Public Law 112–158); and (2) in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report, in unclassified form but with a classified annex, if necessary, on the status of the implementation and enforcement of U.S. bilateral and multilateral sanctions against Iran and other actions taken by the United States and the international community to enforce such sanctions, including a description of any entities involved in providing significant support for the development of a ballistic missile by the Government of Iran after October 1, 2015, including shipping and financing, and note whether such entities are currently under U.S. sanctions.”

 

Sec. 7031 (c) Iraq

The bill earmarks not less than $150 million in ESF funds “for bilateral economic assistance and stabilization assistance for Iraq, including in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), of which not less than $7,500,000 shall be made available for the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund.” It also states that these funds “shall be made available for programs in Anbar Province.” The bill also states that noe less than $47 million from NADR funds “shall be made available for assistance for Iraq for demining and unexploded ordnance removal in areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and affiliated entities,” and that not less than $250 million in FMF “shall be made available for assistance for Iraq, including in the KRI.” The bill also note that funds under Title I of this act “shall be made available to retain possession of United States Consulate General Basrah located adjacent to the Basrah International Airport: Provided, That not later than 60 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a plan, including a classified annex, detailing the conditions and costs necessary for reopening United States Consulate General Basrah and options for maintaining a diplomatic presence in Basrah in the interim.

 

The Report accompanying the bill states:

 

“The Committee recommends $453,600,000 for assistance for Iraq for bilateral economic assistance and stabilization assistance, including not less than $150,000,000 under the ESF heading, not less than $47,000,000 under the NADR heading, and not less than $250,000,000 under the FMF heading. Such funds shall support programs in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq [KRI].

 

“Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund.—The Committee recommends not less than $7,500,000 for the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund, which shall be used to assist Iraqis who have suffered losses as a result of U.S. military operations in Iraq. Such funds shall be administered by DRL or USAID as a distinct Fund and implemented by a qualified NGO or contractor in Iraq, and shall be in addition to funds otherwise made available by the act for such purposes. Prior to the obligation of such funds, the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator shall consult with the Committee on the management of the Fund.

 

“Report on Judiciary.—Not later than 90 days after enactment of the act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees assessing the independence and effectiveness of the judiciary of Iraq and its adherence to international standards of due process, including a description of the impact of corruption on judicial processes and outcomes.

 

“Scholarships.—The Committee recommends not less than $10,000,000 for scholarships for students in Iraq, including in the KRI, at not-for-profit, American-style educational institutions that meet standards comparable to those required for U.S. accreditation. Such funds shall be awarded on an open and competitive basis.”

 

The Report breaks down funding for Iraq as follows:

 

ESF: $150,000,000, of which $7,500,000 is for the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund, and $10,000,000 is for scholarships

INCLE: $5,600,000

NADR: $47,000,000

IMET: $1,000,000

FMF: $250,000,000

Total: $453,600,000

 

Sec. 7031 (d) Jordan

The bill earmarks, under titles III and IV, not less than $1,525 billion for Jordan, of which: “not less than $1,082,400,000 shall be made available under the heading ‘Economic Support Fund’, of which not less than $745,100,000 shall be made available for budget support for the Government of Jordan; and not less than $425,000,000 shall be made available under the heading ‘Foreign Military Financing Program’.” The bill also stipulates that from the SFOPS ESF funding for Jordan in prior “not less than $125,000,000 shall be made available for assistance for Jordan, of which $100,000,000 shall be made available for budget support for the Government of Jordan and $25,000,000 shall be made available for programs to increase electricity transmission to neighboring countries, including Iraq: Provided, That such funds are in addition to amounts otherwise made available for such purposes.

 

The Report accompanying the bill notes:

 

“The Committee recommends a total of not less than $1,650,000,000 for assistance for Jordan, including $125,000,000 from ESF balances in prior acts. Of this amount, not less than $845,100,000 is for budget support, not less than $425,000,000 is under the FMF heading, and $25,000,000 is for programs to increase electricity transmission to neighboring countries, including Iraq.

 

“Additional Assistance.—The Committee recognizes the continued economic and social stresses on Jordan caused by continued conflict in the region and substantial refugee populations residing in Jordan. Additional assistance is available under the IDA and MRA headings to address the needs of refugees in Jordan, including host communities.

 

“Enterprise Fund for Jordan.—Not later than 60 days after enactment of the act, the DFC CEO shall consult with the Committee on the establishment of an enterprise fund for Jordan, in accordance with section 1421(g) of the BUILD Act of 2018.

 

“Loan Guarantees.—Section 7025(p)(1) of the act includes authority for loan guarantees for Jordan. Sale of F–16 Aircraft.—The Committee supports the sale of new F–16 aircraft to Jordan, and requests the Department of State consult with the Committee on options for financing such sale.”

 

The Report includes a table breaking down funding for Jordan as follows:

 

ESF: $1,082,400,000

NADR: $13,600,000

IMET: $4,000,000

FMF: $425,000,000

Section 7031(d)(2) prior fiscal year ESF:  $125,000,000

Total: $1,650,000,000

 

Sec. 7031 (e) Lebanon

The bill text earmarks for Lebanon – all subject to the limitation that “None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available for the ISF or the LAF if the ISF or the LAF is controlled by a foreign terrorist organization, as designated pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189)” – as follows:

 

-       not less than $115 million in ESF [“notwithstanding section 1224 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003 (Public Law 107–228; 22 U.S.C. 2346 note”];

-       not less than $10 million in INCLE [“which may be made available for programs and equipment for the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to address security and stability requirements in areas affected by conflict in Syria, following consultation with the appropriate congressional committees.”];

-       not less than $11 million in NADR; not less than $3 million in IMET; and

-       not less than $105 million in FMF [“only for programs to— (i) professionalize the LAF to mitigate internal and external threats from non-state actors, including Hizballah; (ii) strengthen border security and combat terrorism, including training and equipping the LAF to secure the borders of Lebanon and address security and stability requirements in areas affected by conflict in Syria, interdicting arms shipments, and preventing the use of Lebanon as a safe haven for terrorist groups; and (iii) implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701: Provided, That prior to obligating funds made available by this subparagraph for assistance for the LAF, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a spend plan, including actions to be taken to ensure equipment provided to the LAF is used only for the intended purposes, except such plan may not be considered as meeting the notification requirements under section 7011 of this Act or under section 634A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2394–1), and shall be submitted not later than September 1, 2020: Provided further, That any notification submitted pursuant to such section shall include any funds specifically intended for lethal military equipment.]

 

The Report accompanying the bill notes:

 

“The Committee recommends not less than $244,000,000 for assistance for Lebanon, and continues conditions on assistance in a manner similar to the prior fiscal year.

 

“Border Dispute Resolution.—Funds appropriated by the act shall support programs to pursue the resolution of border disputes between Lebanon and Israel.

 

“Educational Institutions.—The Committee recommends not less than $5,000,000 for not-for-profit educational institutions in Lebanon that meet standards comparable to those required for U.S. accreditation to continue degree and/or certificate programs for refugees in Lebanon. Such programs shall be designed to assist refugees in Lebanon to acquire the skills necessary to obtain employment and serve their communities.

 

“Lebanese Armed Forces.—As in the past, the Committee expects that no funds made available by the act will benefit or legitimize Hizballah or any other FTOs operating in Lebanon. The Committee concurs with the Department of State assessment contained in the fiscal year 2019 FMF spend plan for Lebanon (July 10, 2019) that the: Lebanese Armed Forces [LAF] is a key source of regional stability and a primary partner in achieving U.S. national security interests in Lebanon. U.S. support increases the LAF’s capacity as the sole legitimate defender of Lebanon’s sovereignty; enables the LAF to defend Lebanon from IS and al Qa’iada, preventing potential destabilization from Sunni extremist infiltration into Lebanon; helps to undermine Hizballah’s political power and influence; and secures U.S. regional objectives vis-a-vis great power competitors such as Russia, China, and Iran.

 

“Scholarships.—The Committee recommends $12,000,000 for scholarships for students in Lebanon with high financial need at not-for-profit institutions of higher education in Lebanon that meet standards equivalent to those required for U.S. accreditation by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, to be awarded on a competitive basis. Students graduating from public and private high schools in Lebanon should be eligible for such scholarships if they demonstrate financial need and meet the academic requirements.”

 

The Report includes a table breaking down funding for Lebanon as follows:

 

ESF: $115,000,000 of which, $12,000,000 is for scholarships

INCLE: $10,000,000

NADR: $11,000,000

IMET: $3,000,000

FMF $105,000,000

Total: $244,000,000

 

Sec. 7031 (f) Libya

The bill states: “Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the headings ‘‘Economic Support Fund’’, ‘‘International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement’’, and ‘‘Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs’’, not less than $40,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2022, shall be made available for stabilization assistance for Libya, including support for a United Nations-facilitated political process and border security: Provided, That the limitation on the uses of funds for certain infrastructure projects in section 7041(f)(2) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2014 (division K of Public Law 113–76) shall apply to such funds.”

 

The Report accompanying the bill notes: “The Committee recommends not less than $40,000,000 for stabilization assistance for Libya, and continues limitations on assistance in a manner similar to the prior fiscal year. The Committee supports UN efforts to secure a political agreement in Libya, and affirms its support for the Government of National Accord.”

 

The Report includes a table breaking down funding for Libya as follows:

 

ESF: $27,000,000

INCLE: $2,000,000

NADR: $11,000,000

Total: $40,000,000

 

Sec. 7031 (g) Morocco

This bill states that DA and ESF in this Act “shall be made available for assistance for the Western Sahara: Provided, That not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act and prior to the obligation of such funds, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, shall consult with the Committees on Appropriations on the proposed uses of such funds.” It also stipulates that FMF for Morocco “may only be used for the purposes requested in the Congressional Budget Justification, Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 2017.”

 

The Report accompanying the bill notes: “The Committee recommends not less than $41,000,000 for assistance for Morocco, an increase of $2,500,000 above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level. Additional funds provided under the NADR heading shall be used to bolster counterterrorism cooperation with Algeria and Tunisia, and to address security threats emanating from Libya and in the Sahel.”

 

The Report includes a table breaking down funding for Morocco as follows:

 

ESF: $20,000,000

INCLE: $5,000,000

NADR: $4,000,000

IMET: $2,000,000

FMF: $10,000,000

Total: $41,000,000

 

Sec. 7031 (h) Saudi Arabia

The bill stipulates that “None of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘‘International Military Education and Training’’ may be made available for assistance for the Government of Saudi Arabia.”

 

Sec. 7031 (i) Syria

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the bill earmarks not less than $130 million for Syria for non-lethal stabilization assistance -- under ESF, INCLE, NADR and PKO -- to remain available until September 30, 2022, of which not less than $10 million is “for emergency medical and rescue response and chemical weapons use investigations" and not less than $25 million is for “reconciliation and local governance programs, including not less than $15,000,000 for media programs.” The bill further provides that funds in this Act and prior SFOPS acts “shall be made available to reestablish and maintain the presence of the Syria Transition Assistance Response Team (START) Forward inside Syria, including for the security costs for START Forward.” In addition, it stipulates that funds for Syria in this Act “shall be made available, on an open and competitive basis, to Syrian civil society organizations to address the immediate and long-term needs of the Syrian people in Syria and to counter the influence of the Russian Federation and Iran in Syria, including in Northwest Syria and areas held by the Government of Syria led by Bashar al-Assad: Provided, That funds made available by this paragraph shall be administered by the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State.” Finally, it notes that none of this funding may be made available “for a project or activity that significantly supports or legitimizes the Government of Iran, foreign terrorist organizations (as designated pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189)), or a proxy of Iran in Syria,” and states that all funding for Syria is “subject to prior consultation with the appropriate congressional committees and the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.”

 

The Report accompanying the bill states:

 

“The Committee recommends not less than $130,000,000 for non-lethal stabilization assistance for Syria.

 

“Safe Zone Stabilization Programs.—The Committee recommends $25,000,000 for stabilization programs in a ‘‘safe zone’’ in Syria, if established. Such funds should be conditioned on international organizations and local NGOs having access to all areas and populations in the zone. The Committee encourages the Secretary of State, in consultation with the USAID Administrator, to secure the commitment of the Government of Turkey to cooperate with international and local partners on all aspects of delivering assistance and access to all populations within the zone, including facilitation of registration, unfettered movement, and accessibility of key border crossings.

 

“Spend Plan.—Section 7050(b)(1)(A) of the act requires a spend plan for assistance for Syria, which shall include a timeline for obligation and expenditure of all funds, including funds previously appropriated and not yet obligated or expended, and funds received by the U.S. Government from international donors and foreign governments.

 

“Uses of Funds.—Among other activities, stabilization assistance for Syria should continue to be used for programs to: (1) support targeted early recovery activities, including rehabilitation of essential services; (2) strengthen local administration through training and other capacity building efforts; (3) improve service delivery through technical and material assistance to meet community needs; and (4) support civilian community security providers with training, operational support, and non-lethal assistance.”

 

The Report includes a table breaking down funding for Syria as follows:

 

ESF: $105,000,00, of which $10,000,000 is for emergency medical and rescue response and chemical weapons use investigations, and $25,000,000 is for reconciliation and local governance programs

INCLE: $5,000,000

NADR: $10,000,000

Section 7041(a)(1) Relief and Recovery Fund 10,000

Total: $130,000,000

 

Sec. 7031 (j) Tunisia

The bill states that “of the funds appropriated under titles III and IV of this Act, not less than $191,400,000 shall be made available for assistance for Tunisia.” It also states that “Of the funds appropriated under the heading ‘Economic Support Fund’ in prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs, not less than $50,000,000 shall be made available for assistance for Tunisia: Provided, That such funds are in addition to amounts otherwise made available for such purposes.”

 

The Report accompanying the bill states: “The Committee recommends a total of not less than

$241,400,000 for assistance for Tunisia, including $50,000,000 from ESF balances in prior acts. Loan Guarantees.—Section 7025(p)(1) of the act includes authority for loan guarantees for Tunisia.”

 

The Report includes a table breaking down funding for Tunisia as follows:

 

ESF: $85,000,000

INCL:E $13,000,000

NADR: $6,100,000

IMET: $2,300,000

FMF $85,000,000

Section 7031(j)(2) prior fiscal year Economic Support Fund: $50,000,000

Total: $241,400,000

 

Sec. 7031 (k) West Bank and Gaza

The bill states that of the funds appropriated under title IV (INCLE), “not less than $75,000,000 shall be made available for security assistance programs in the West Bank” and notes that “such sums are in addition to amounts otherwise made available for such purposes.”

 

*****NOTE: This earmark is Chairman Graham’s effort to get around ATCA. As a reminder, ATCA tried to create a hook for lawsuits against the PA by legislating that if the PA continued to accept even a penny from any of the categories of U.S. aid it had been getting in the past, it would be assenting to jurisdiction of U.S. courts. This led (among other things) to a cut-off in U.S. funding for Palestinian security forces (whose job boils down to policing Palestinians for the benefit of Israeli security). In order to get around this ATCA trap, Graham is cleverly proposing to keep funding PA security but out of a different account (as in, the specificity of ATCA – which was written to be generic but was clearly aimed at the Palestinians – has given him a partial work-around, proposing funding for the PA security forces to come from NADR, but from a different account than the one specified in ATCA).*****

 

In an apparent effort to streamline the bill, this year’s Senate SFOPS uses the West Bank/Gaza section to collect in one place a laundry list of previously-adopted provisions – laying out far-reaching limitations, restrictions, conditions, vetting, and oversight requirements that apply to the Palestinians – and assert that they all continue in effect for FY 2020. These are:

 

 (A) Section 7036 (Palestinian Statehood). [Perennial provision (dating to the era when Congress saw its role as being to restrain the White House from being too nice to the Palestinians) barring assistance to a Palestinian state that does not meet a series of conditions (includes perennial Presidential waiver authority.]

(B) Section 7038 (Prohibition on Assistance to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation). [Perennial bill language barring any U.S. assistance to the PBC.]

(C) Section 7039 (Assistance for the West Bank and Gaza). [Perennial section laying out far-reaching restrictions and conditions, as well as vetting, oversight and audit requirements, for U.S. assistance programs (carried out through non-governmental organizations) in the West Bank and Gaza..]

(D) Section 7040 (Limitation on Assistance for the Palestinian Authority). -- Perennial bill language banning U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority, along with Presidential waiver authority. This section also includes language designed to prevent the U.S. from supporting any kind of Palestinian unity or power-sharing government.

(E) Section 7041(k)(1) (West Bank and Gaza, Report on Assistance) – [Requires that prior to the obligation of any funds for the West Bank and Gaza, the Secretary of State shall report to Congress that the purpose of such assistance is to: “(A) advance Middle East peace; (B) improve security in the region; (C) continue support for transparent and accountable government institutions; (D) promote a private sector economy; or (E) address urgent humanitarian needs.”]

(F) Section 7041(k)(2) (West Bank and Gaza, Limitations). bars any funding for the PA if “the Palestinians obtain the same standing as member states or full membership as a state in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians” or if “the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court (ICC) judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.” The provision gives the Secretary of State authority to waive the ban on aid with respect to UN agencies, but not with respect to the ICC. Also includes Presidential authority to waive ban on PLO office in Washington, contingent on the President certifying that the Palestinians have not\ “obtained in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof the same standing as member states or full membership as a state outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians” or “initiated or actively supported an ICC investigation against Israeli nationals for alleged crimes against Palestinians.”

(G) Section 7041(k)(5) (West Bank and Gaza, Security Report). [Section stating that “The reporting requirements contained in section 1404 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 (Public Law 110-252) shall apply to funds made available by this Act, including a description of modifications, if any, to the security strategy of the Palestinian Authority.” As a reminder, Section 1404 of PL 110-252 states: “Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act and 180 days thereafter, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a report on assistance provided by the United States for the training of Palestinian security forces, including detailed descriptions of the training, curriculum, and equipment provided; an assessment of the training and the performance of forces after training has been completed; and a description of the assistance that has been pledged and provided to Palestinian security forces by other donors: Provided, That not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall report to the Committees on Appropriations, in classified form if necessary, on the security strategy of the Palestinian Authority.” And also requiring that, “requires that, “Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees detailing steps taken by the Palestinian Authority to counter incitement of violence against Israelis and to promote peace and coexistence with Israel.”]

(H) Section 7041(k)(6) (West Bank and Gaza, Incitement Report). – [Requires that, “Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees detailing steps taken by the Palestinian Authority to counter incitement of violence against Israelis and to promote peace and coexistence with Israel.”]

The bill also states that Section 7035 of division F of Public Law 116 – perennial text regarding the sense of the Congress on the Arab League Boycott of Israel -  shall apply to this Act.

And it stipulates that “Funds appropriated by this Act and prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs may be made available for private sector partnership programs for the West Bank and Gaza if such funds are authorized.”

 

The Report accompanying the bill notes:

 

“The Committee recommends not less than $75,000,000 for security assistance for the West Bank under title IV of this act and prior acts.”

 

“Report on Private Sector Partnership Programs.—Funds made available by the act for private sector partnership programs in the West Bank pursuant to subsection (k)(4), if authorized, should be used, in addition to other purposes, to support joint Palestinian and Israeli businesses and to encourage commerce between Israeli and Palestinian businesses in the West Bank. Not later than 90 days after enactment of the act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the USAID Administrator, shall submit a report to the Committee describing steps taken, or planned to be taken, in support of this effort.”

 

Sec. 7031 (l) Yemen

This subsection of the bill states that, “Of the funds appropriated by this Act and prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs, not less than $40,000,000 shall be made available for stabilization assistance for Yemen, of which not less than $10,000,000 shall be made available for a contribution for a United Nations stabilization facility, not less than $5,000,000 for a contribution for a United Nations governance facility, and not less than $5,000,000 to meet the needs of vulnerable populations, including women and girls: Provided, That such amounts are in addition to funds otherwise made available for such purposes..”

 

The Report accompanying the bill notes: “The Committee recommends not less than $40,000,000 for stabilization assistance for Yemen, of which not less than $15,000,000 is to be administered by the UN Development Program. The Committee recognizes the complexity of the conflict in Yemen and the humanitarian catastrophe that exits, and underscores the importance of stabilization programs to counter IS, undermine the influence of al Qaeda, and set conditions under which internal stability can be established in Yemen over the longer term, which is essential for the security of international shipping lanes through the Gulf of Aden.

 

The Report includes a table breaking down funding for Yemen as follows:

 

Global Health Programs, USAID: $3,500,000

ESF: $16,500,000, of which $5,000,000 is for UN governance facility

NADR: $6,500,000

Section 7041(a)(1) Relief and Recovery Fund: $13,500,000 of which $10,000,000 is for the UN stabilization facility

Total: $40,000,000

 

Sec. 7038: United Nations

The bill stipulates that the “terms and conditions of section 7048 of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2019 (division F of Public Law 116–6), except subsections (a), (c), (d), (g), (i), and (k), shall remain in effect during fiscal year 2020.” With respect to the Middle East, this leaves in place:

  

No $$ for agencies headed by bad guys: Part (b) of this section prohibits funding expenses for expenses for any US delegation to anything having to do with any agency, body, or commission associated with the UN presided over by a country that the Secretary of State has determined, according to U.S. law, “supports international terrorism.” It also bars contributions to any agency, body, or commission associated with the UN presided over by a country that the Secretary of State has determined, according to U.S. law, is a government that “has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” It also states that “The Secretary of State may waive the restriction in this subsection if the Secretary determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that to do so is important to the national interest of the United States, including a description of the national interest served.”

 

Withholding $$ from UN Agencies that are mean to Israel: Part J of last year’s bill included a new section entitled “National Security Interest Withholding.” This section requires the Secretary of State to “withhold 5 percent of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading “Contributions to International Organizations” for a specialized agency or other entity of the United Nations if the Secretary, in consultation with the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such agency or entity has taken an official action that is against the national security interest of the United States or an ally of the United States, including Israel.” The Secretary of State may waive the withholding if he “determines that to do so in the national interest.”

 

The Report accompanying the bill adds: “Report on Anti-Israel Bias at the United Nations.—Not later than 90 days after enactment of the act, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations shall submit a report to the Committee describing instances of anti-Israel bias at the United Nations during the prior calendar year, including an identification of the agencies and entities where such bias has been demonstrated during the prior calendar year.”

 

Sec. 7039: Law Enforcement and Security

This section includes an extension of the war stockpile authority, as well as authority for financing of commercial leasing of defense articles to Israel, Egypt, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and major non-NATO allies. It also includes a provision regarding landmines and cluster munitions, as well as crowd control items.

 

Sec. 7047: Sector Allocations

Part (g), entitled “Reconciliation Programs, states that “Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the headings ‘‘Economic Support Fund’’ and ‘‘Development Assistance’’, not less than $30,000,000 shall be made available to support people-to-people reconciliation programs which bring together individuals of different ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds from areas of civil strife and war, including between Israelis and Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza:

 

The Report accompanying the bill notes: “Reconciliation Programs.—The Committee recommends not less than $30,000,000 under this and the DA headings for reconciliation programs and activities which bring together and facilitate direct communication between individuals of different ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds from areas affected by civil strife and war, which shall include reconciliation activities between Israelis and Palestinians. Funds should be leveraged, to the maximum extent practicable, to obtain contributions from other donors and governments.”

 

*****IMPORTANT: With this bill and report text, Senate appropriators are seeking to legislate U.S. taxpayer support/funding for joint settler-Palestinian projects. Also worth noting: ATCA is only a problem for funds given to the Palestinians. This provision opens the possibility for reconciliation funding to be given to Israeli organizations that promote “reconciliation” through joint settler-Palestinian projects (an approach that redefines “reconciliation” to mean normalization of occupation and formalization of de facto annexation).*****

 

Sec. 7050: Budget Documents

This section states (among other things): “Prior to the initial obligation of funds but not later than 120 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State or Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, as appropriate, shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a spend plan for funds made available by this Act” for assistance for: Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza, Colombia, and countries in Central America.

 

Sec. 7050: Global Internet Freedom

This section states that funds from various categories shall be used (among other things) to “the comprehensive strategy to promote Internet freedom and access to information in Iran, as required by section 414 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (22 U.S.C. 8754)” 

 

Sec. 7052: Extending the Terms and Conditions of Certain Provisions

This section is another laundry list of provisions from the last SFOPS that the bill extends, including:

 

Sec. 7008: Coups d’état

This perennial bill provision (which caused Congress and the Obama Administration a headache over Egypt funding) states: “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to titles III through VI of this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’état or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d’état or decree in which the military plays a decisive role.” It also states that “assistance may be resumed to such government if the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the appropriate congressional committees that subsequent to the termination of assistance a democratically elected government has taken office” and that the prohibition in this section “shall not apply to assistance to promote democratic elections or public participation in democratic processes.”

Sec. 7013: Prohibition on taxation of assistance

This is a perennial bill provision barring taxation of U.S. assistance. While this provision appears generic, the only recipient explicitly identified is the West Bank and Gaza [ironic, since the Trump Administration has cut off all funding to it]. This reflects the genesis of the provision: long-past allegations that the Palestinian Authority (PA) was taxing U.S. assistance provided to NGOs (and recall that under existing law direct aid to the PA is prohibited), thereby indirectly benefiting from US assistance designed specifically to bypass the PA.

Sec. 7021: Prohibition on assistance to governments supporting international terrorism

Perennial bill provision prohibiting funding to any country “which provides lethal military equipment to a country the government of which the Secretary of State has determined supports international terrorism…” and prohibits bilateral assistance to any country that supports international terrorism, gives sanctuary to terrorist, or is controlled by a terrorist organization. The section includes national security waivers for both restrictions. (10) Section 7061 (Enterprise Funds).

 

  1. Hearings

 

9/26: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an Executive Business Meeting to consider, among other things, S. 2132, the Graham (R-SC)-led ATCA “fix” discussed in Section 1, above.

 

9/25: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a business meeting to deal with a list of bills, including S. Res. 236, A resolution reaffirming the strong partnership between Tunisia and the United States and supporting the people of Tunisia in their continued pursuit of democratic reforms; and S. Res. 277, A resolution remembering the 25th Anniversary of the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and recommitting to efforts to uphold justice for the 85 victims of the attacks.

 

9/24: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, will hold a hearing entitled, “The Path Forward: Key Findings From the Syria Study Group Report.” Scheduled witnesses are Michael Singh, WINEP, and Dana Stroul, WINEP.

 

  1. On the Record

 

[Note: What with SFOPS this week, time ran out on this Round-Up - so look for a longer report next week featuring members on the record]

 

Zeldin (R-NJ) 9/18: House Republican Israel Caucus Statement on 2019 United Nations General Assembly [““The United Nations has a responsibility to be a force for good, to promote freedom and peace throughout the world. Unfortunately, time and time again, as Co-Chairmen of the House Republican Israel Caucus, we’ve witnessed an inherent and dangerous anti-Israel bias seep from the UN that must be combatted. The UN must restore confidence in its body, root out anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hatred within its ranks, and reestablish integrity in its institution for the benefit of all member nations”]

Schakowsky (D-IL) 9/17: Schakowsky Statement on Petroleum Infrastructure Attacks in Saudi Arabia

 

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